Pete Knight: The Cowboy King


167 pages
Contains Photos, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 1-55059-266-1
DDC 791.8'4'092




Reviewed by Nora D.S. Robins

Nora D.S. Robins is liaison librarian, University of Calgary Information


Pete Knight was the most accomplished bronc rider of the 20th century: a
four-time winner of the World Bronc Riding Champion, a North American
Champion, a Dempsey Trophy winner (for being the world’s greatest
bronc rider), and a three-time winner of the Prince of Wales Cup. Knight
was born in Philadelphia in 1903. His family emigrated to Canada in 1914
after seeing an advertisement for settlers and began farming in the
Crossfield area of southern Alberta. Knight took naturally to horses,
and at the age of 15 began his career at a Crossfield rodeo (he came in
second in bronc riding). By 1924 he had attracted quite a bit of notice
and that year placed second in the bucking horse competition at the
Calgary Stampede. A few years later he won the Prince of Wales Cup, the
most prestigious sporting award in Canada at that time. Knight joined
the Alberta Stampede Company and toured throughout North America. At the
height of his fame he was killed at a Hayward, California, rodeo on May
23, 1937.

Pete Knight was more than a bronc rider. He was a brother, husband,
father, friend, legend. During the Great Depression, he gave away much
of his winnings to injured and down-and-out rodeo contestants. He was
the subject of two popular songs by Wilf Carter: “Pete Knight: The
King of the Cowboys,” and “Pete Knight’s Last Ride.” All who
knew him liked and respected him. He was the stuff of legends.

The author is a great-nephew of Pete Knight. He has done a commendable
job of bringing to life a personable and much-loved man. This
well-written and enjoyable biography is enhanced by many black-and-white


Knight, Darrell., “Pete Knight: The Cowboy King,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 21, 2024,